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Friday, September 30, 2011

From the Bottom of my Heart: Thank You

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.  ~Cicero

Next weekend Canadians celebrate our Thanksgiving Day.  I was going to write this article to celebrate that day of thanks, but instead I think it should be read today- on the last day of World Milksharing Week.

Today I want to write about thanksgiving. Not about turkeys and stuffing, but about gratitude and deep heart felt thanks, about the appreciation that comes with recognizing when we have been given an amazing gift. The gift of breastmilk.

Today I want to say "Thank You" to an incredible group of women:  Our Milk Donors.

Having been involved with milksharing for a long time, I have had the honor to get to know many of these wonderful women.  I've heard their stories, learned about where they come from, why they do what they do, and what inspires them to keep doing what they are doing.  I am always in awe of their ability to give something so precious.

These wonderful women come from all walks of life, all races, all religions.  Some of these women are single mothers who are struggling to raise children by themselves, yet they take the time out of their day to pump or express milk for other babies.  Some of these women are working moms, who take their pumps to work so that even there they can continue to give milk to other families in need.  Some of these women have struggle with milk supply issues themselves and have turned around and become donors to other mothers once they've built their supply up again.  Some of these mothers have continued to provide milk for their "milk babes" even though they are going through tough times: divorce, death in their family, loss of jobs, or many other terrible experiences.  Just last week I read a post from a donor mother who was being rushed into hospital for emergency surgery, who took a last second to ask others in her local community to help get milk to the baby she was pumping for, because she didn't want this baby to go without milk while she was in the hospital.  Earlier this week I wrote about Jennifer, who is donating hundreds of ounces of liquid gold to babies in need after birthing her sleeping baby.

These women give a gift that is priceless, and they give it willingly, out of love and out of an altruistic need to share and help other babies thrive.  They deserve our gratitude and recognition for the incredible work that they do to give human milk to human babies.

I would like to ask everyone to take a moment to think about our donor mums, to think about their sacrifices, and maybe think of a special way to say "Thank you".  

And tell us about it!!  Next week on Thanksgiving Day, I will post out a special message from all of my readers to all the wonderful women who are giving the most precious gift they can: the gift of their own breastmilk.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

WMW: Milksharing Stories for Thursday

Welcome to World Milksharing Week- Thursday edition!

As I have a cold that's left me feeling like my head is the size of a boulder, and has barely left me capable of mustering enough coherent thought to be able to tie my son's shoes this morning, writing a well thought out and brain stimulating article is just not in the picture for today.  Sorry.  Instead I will post a couple of links to some great milksharing stories and will repost out the lovely story of one of my fellow HM4HB admins.

One of my favorite sites, "The International Breastfeeding Symbol"  has also been writing milksharing articles all this week in honor of World Milksharing Week.  Here is a list of links to their articles about mothers coming together to feed each others babies.  I know that you'll enjoy them as much as I have!

And now I'm going to cheat and copy an article that I wrote last December.  Forgive me: the body is willing but the mind is weak, lol.

Infant Formula: It's not "Good Enough"

Before the  formula lynch mob hangs me for the following comment, I just want to say something:  This is not about guilt.  This is not about trying to make mothers who've used formula feel guilty.  If you want to debate the "Guilt Issue" go read my article "Breastfeeding: guilt, statistics, support, and making a choice"    (and the article I wrote last week: "The little voices called "Guilt" & "Shame") and then we'll talk.  This is not about feeling guilty for using infant formula. This is about not having to "choose" to use infant formula. This is about actually having a choice and making the best choice for your baby and your family.

When breastfeeding is difficult, or when it goes terribly wrong, it can be absolutely devastating for mother and baby.  Mothers who have done their research and made the choice to exclusively breastfeed their babies already know that "breast is best", they know that breastfeeding is NORMAL.  More importantly they know about the risks associated with feeding your baby infant formulas. So when nature throws moms a curve and forces them to have to rely on something other than their own breasts to nourish their child, it can be completely overwhelming.

The first thing moms need to do is to get professional help.  See a certified  Lactation Consultant/IBCLC to try to work through the problem:  Is it a poor latch?  Why is baby's latch not good enough?  Is baby tongue tied?  Does mother simply need help with positioning?  For most situations if you fix the latch you fix the supply problems.

But what if the problem isn't so easily fixed?  What if the problem is one that is unfixable?  What then?  Babies need to be fed and when the mother is not able to produce enough milk to exclusively breastfeed, then they have to turn to another source of nutrition. Up until the last 60 or 70 years, the natural thing to do would be to use donor milk or a wet nurse- whether it was your sister, cousin, aunt, mother, friend or another local mother who was already breastfeeding her own baby.  Mother to Mother milk sharing and tribal nursing was so common that is was the accepted method of feeding babies who needed milk.

Now of course we are living in the era of commercially prepared infant formulas.  "Wet nursing" is a word that's fallen out of fashion and tribal nursing, if done at all, is done behind closed doors.  Now if a mother is unable to produce enough breastmilk the medical machine automatically hands her a can of formula and sends her on her way. WHY? Why formula instead of donated breastmilk?  Because infant formula is a huge industry and pays out millions of dollars in advertising and promotions, sponsors medical associations and medical schools, buys doctors fancy briefcases and sports cars, sends hospital executives on Caribbean cruises and gives maternity wards thousands of cans of their product to use and give away.  Money talks, and "Breastmilk" doesn't have any executives to pay off government officials to use their products.

Up until the 1980's there were breastmilk banks scattered all over North America to facilitate the feeding of preterm and fragile infants in hospital NICUs.  Then came the AIDs scare and the vast majority of milk banks closed their doors- leaving just 10 banks in the US and one lonely milk bank in Canada. I plan on doing some investigating into the closure of these milk banks because I'm a firm believer that money talks and if doors were closed, then someone somewhere told them to close and paid for them to stay that way. There is only one industry that stood to gain anything from the closure of breastmilk banks.  Call me a conspiracy theorist, but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, I'm going to call it a duck.

Recently the Canadian (and US) governments have been talking about the need for Breastmilk Banks, about how vitally necessary breastmilk is to our most fragile citizens.  Dr. Sharon Unger was quoted inThe Toronto Star in November as saying:
“We’ve long, long, long wanted a milk bank in Ontario,” says Dr. Sharon Unger, a Mount Sinai neonatologist.
“Our hope is that we would supply milk to all of Ontario, so we’d have depot sites or collection sites throughout the province and we’d be a central processing plant,” says Unger, who is medical director of Toronto’s Milk Bank Initiative.
The group is currently in negotiations with the provincial health ministry to fund the project. Unger says a final price tag has not been determined, but that it would be a multi-million-dollar venture.
“It does of course cost more to process human milk than cow’s milk,” she says.
...and as I said at the time:
Applause, yes applause.  It's a wonderful thing that the media has jumped on the band wagon and is making public announcements like this, I mean,  any publicity is good publicity KWIM? Horray for Breastmilk!
But I have to admit that it irks me.  Mothers and Doctors, like Dr. Jack Newman, have been crying out for Milk Banks for Years- YEARS!!!! Not only that, but Canada does have a Milk Bank in Vancouver BC... a milk bank that they have been trying to close down for years!!  I wrote an article on the topic just a couple of months ago: Canada Needs Milk Banks!!!
And I still agree, We NEED milk banks!!!  But you know what? If we wait around for the government to get off their bureaucratic asses to build even ONE milk bank.... I'll probably already be a grandmother!!!  And when we get milk banks, will they help the babies that are healthy but need milk?  Will they give milk to mothers with low supply?  Adoptive mothers?  Mothers with babies that have special needs like Anaya? NO, they won't.

So we return to the original topic:  What if the mother isn't able to exclusively breastfeed?  What if she has low supply? What if the problem isn't so easily fixed?  What if the problem is one that is unfixable?  What then? Up until recently your only choice would of been feeding your baby infant formula.  Not much of a choice is it?

Now  you can choose to feed your baby donated human milk.  Mothers have had enough of waiting for the bureaucrats and money grubbers to build milk banks.  Now mothers have taken back their autonomy and are supporting other women and families.  Milk Sharing is the wave of the future.  Milk sharing is making a difference and helping families and babies.  And Human Milk 4 Human Babies is leading the way!!!

Here is another amazing story of one mothers struggle to breastfeed her baby and how milk sharing made a huge difference in her life!!!

Ruby's  Story
By Kim Parent

"I can’t remember when I made the decision to breastfeed my daughter – I just know that notbreastfeeding never occurred to me. There were many compelling reasons to nurse, including cost, health benefits, and convenience. My partner and I collected books about breastfeeding during pregnancy and we educated ourselves about the subject. I learned what myths and traps to look out for, and prepared myself to stand up against the well-meaning medical staff who might want to supplement my baby with formula. Fortunately I had a trouble-free birthing experience.

However, within the first week it became obvious that something wasn’t right. Ruby would not keep her latch for more than a minute or two. She would unlatch, crying and screaming, over and over again. After several tearful days, we called an IBCLC. She was finally able to tell me why my daughter was so upset: I have breast hypoplasia, also known as IGT (insufficient glandular tissue). Hypoplastic breasts never fully develop, and they lack an adequate amount of milk-producing mammary glands. I was heartbroken.

My lactation consultant wrote a plan of action that would hopefully allow me to increase my supply while supplementing my daughter. With great effort, I was able to approximately double my milk production, to a maximum of a few ounces per day - not nearly enough to meet Ruby’s needs. We were supplementing with approximately 20 ounces of formula per day. We were not prepared to accept that formula was “good enough”,  being fully aware of the risks associated with artificial feeding. We could see that her little body was having trouble digesting the formula. She was very constipated, and she would scream and cry for hours. We tried many different brands, but her symptoms were always the same. I turned to my lactation consultant for advice on donated breast milk.

In all of Canada, there is only one milk bank, located in Vancouver, BC. Currently they cannot keep up with the demands of their own NICU. Even if there was enough milk available, the cost can easily be prohibitive. At $1.25 per ounce (which is much less than the cost of banked milk in the U.S.), it would cost us at least $750 per month to feed Ruby exclusively breast milk.

For our family, the answer was informed, mother-to-mother milk donation, not unlike wet nursing. We found several online resources to facilitate this, including the Human Milk 4 Human Babies Global Network on Facebook. Thanks to fifteen generous women, my daughter has received thousands of ounces of breast milk. She has not had a drop of formula in over three months! She is a different baby now – no more colic, spitting up, or constipation. She is hitting all of her developmental milestones and is just a radiantly beautiful and happy little girl. I still grieve the exclusive breastfeeding relationship that I had planned to have with her. However, I finally feel confident that she is receiving the best nutrition that I can possibly provide for her. I am eternally grateful to the amazing families who have helped us and for the support I have received from those around me.

Ruby at 3 weeks old

Ruby at 3 weeks old - at this point she had been supplemented with formula for over 2 weeks

Ruby at 3 months
Ruby at 3 months old, exclusively breastfed!

At 6 months old- 

A beautiful healthy Ruby at 6 months old!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WMW- The Ultimate Gift

I would like to share the heart breaking and heart warming story of an wonderful mother, who is giving, in my opinion, the ultimate gift: Her breastmilk.

Jennifer Coias is an amazing activist for the rights of babies and children and writes many articles for "Peaceful Parenting", and is an admin for HM4HB in Brazil.  We were all so excited to hear that she was going to be having another baby, and many of us enjoyed seeing her photos of her growing belly, and reading about her plans for a peaceful HBAC (Home Birth After Cesarean section). Her enthusiasm was almost contagious.

Then at 35 weeks the unthinkable happened and we learned that Jennifer's baby had died. Tears flowed throughout the Facebook Peaceful Parenting universe as we cried for her, for her family, and for her baby.

Peaceful Parenting wrote a lovely article  "From Despair to Donation: A mother looses her baby and shares his milk", about Jennifer, and said that when she is ready, Jennifer will tell her own story.

"No one could do justice to the story that Jennifer Coias has to share: her hope-filled pregnancy, VBAC waterbirth plans, the loss of her baby at 35 weeks, subsequent weeks of waiting for him to arrive on his own (induction post-cesearean is dangerous), being dropped by both her midwife and OB, struggling to find someone to take an ultrasound picture of her baby, being dropped by her birth photographer, her subsequent gentle HBAC (home birth after cesarean) with a midwife found at the last minute, all the while living in a South American country far from home, friends and family, in an area where few understood or supported her belief in birth and trust in her body and her baby. No one could tell her story of all that she has endured, overcame, processed, learned, and continues to struggle through today - 9 days postpartum. No one, that is, except for Jennifer herself. She is writing, and plans to share with the peaceful parenting community when the time is right. But for now, without detailing all the momentous moments that have led up to this week, we'd like to celebrate the amazing gift that Jennifer is giving back to the world. Even in the midst of tears and pain, liquid gold flows forth, and through this, Jennifer is saving the lives of babies around her.

Today marks the beginning of  World Milksharing Week. It is also the day Jennifer has pumped the most milk yet to share -- milk that was meant for Jude, but that which is now graciously given to babies in need, in his honor. A few days postpartum, a local Brazilian milk bank made its first stop at Jennifer's house to drop off bottles and pick up bags which she'd filled. While there are many milk banks across Brazil, actual pumps and pumping supplies are hard to come by, and very expensive when available. Most mothers who donate milk do so from hand expression and do not have a significant amount to give. Milk bank workers were astonished the following day when Jennifer had not only filled all their containers, but additional bags as well. This type of gift does not happen often, and everyone was thrilled at the quantity and quality of little lives that would be powerfully impacted as a result."
I won't presume to write about Jennifer's story and will wait, like everyone else, to hear it directly from her.  Instead I want to talk about the amazing gift that she is giving to fragile babies in need: The Ultimate gift of breastmilk.  The road to donating hasn't been easy for Jennifer, because while milk banks are plentiful in Brazil, breast pumps are few and far between and very expensive.  Even to have one shipped from America is incredibly costly because of the heavy duties involved, on top of the shipping expenses themselves!  Using her broken pump Jenn is filling the containers that the milk bank has given her faster than they can replace them. 

* If you have unused breastmilk bags that you can send to her, your gift would be hugely appreciated.*

It is an awesome woman who takes the time and effort and diligence to pump milk to donate to another baby.  It takes an incredible woman- a true hero- to do all of this after the loss of her own baby.   The words of over 2000 women can be read on the facebook page created to support Jenn and her family- I highly suggest reading  some of the comments so many people have written.  Awe Inspiring. 

Just like Jennifer.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

WMW- Tuesday's Milksharing stories!

Today I read 4 wonderful stories about milk sharing from two different blogs- "Gilligan's All Natural Island" & "The Crunchy Side of Me".

Carlie, author of "Gilligan's All natural Island" writes about her journey to inducing lactation for her new born adoptive daughter in her article "Adoptive Breastfeeding".

"At first, I didnt get anything out. Not even a drop. I was a little stressed, but all along I told myself not to have any expectations. After a few days of pumping, I started getting drops..then we got the call that the baby was going to be born!..We jumped on a plane to NYC, ready to meet our baby. Since I didnt have much time to pump (protocol calls for 1 month to build up milk supply), we took a cooler full of donated breast milk with us. Trying to educate ourselves on how to pack it, and finding a place to stay with a full size freezer is a whole other story in itself. Somehow, someway, everything totally fell into place.
I continued pumping every 3 hours, taking my domperidone, and herbs. We were unsure of how the hospital was going to go, we assumed the baby would get formula for a few days, and then hopefully be able to switch over to breastmilk. Well, Hallie's birthmom graciously decided to breastfeed her for the first 3 days of life, so it made the transition very smooth. She knew exactly what to do when I nursed her for the first time. (in the bathroom of the hospital lobby, while waiting on our car to arrive:)
I quickly realized once we got her back to our rented NYC apt and settled, that she was not satisfied with what she was getting. So, we pulled out the good ol' SNS. Supplemental Nursing System. Its a device where you put the breast milk in a container, then you attach these 2 small tubes to the breast with a piece of soft tape, and the baby sucks. That way they are still nursing at the breast, but getting more than what the breast can provide.
It worked great! Joe was such a good helper. He would get it set up every single time, warm the milk, and just do whatever he could...I would nurse Hallie Rose (we joked it was her appetizer), while he got the SNS all set up. We worked as a team. Hallie was doing great and so was I. Jalen was definitely exposed to alot of things(boobs) he had never seen or known about. He did great and has learned alot though."

HERE to read the entire article.

And Carlie continues her story about feeding her daughter donated breastmilk in her article "MilkSharing":

"I pump twice a day, and usually get about 6-8 oz each time (see my entry on adoptive breast feeding). All of her other feedings are that of donated breast milk from generous women in our area.
We have a deep freezer FULL of it!!
I know, some of you are thinking, "thats gross", or "what about the risks involved"?
To those people, I would ask, "do you think it's gross to drink milk that was expressed out of a cow"?..An animal of which is not even close to the size of a human, and who's milk is made for baby cow's.
And "do you not think there is a risk in feeding your baby formula, of which was made in a factory, and has been recalled numerous times because of infant DEATHS,  bug particles found in the formula, and tons of other negative aspects to it"?
To be honest, in our opinion (and the opinion of LOTS of other women and men out there), the benefits of feeding our baby donated breast milk,  far out weigh the risk.
These women who donate, **do not ask for a dime**. They do it solely out of the kindness of their hearts.
They are feeding the same milk to their own baby, and most of them are VERY health conscience.
A Dr's screening is provided, if requested by the recipient, showing that the donor mother does not have any illnesses, and is healthy.
I feel very confident we are doing the right thing by giving our daughter donated milk. She is very healthy and happy."

HERE to read the entire article

The Second blog I read today is from "The Crunchy Side of Me" .  The first article is Amber' story of how she struggled with fertility issues due to PCOS, and then began the rocky road to nursing her twin daughters , over coming all obstacles and not only succeeding in breastfeeding them both, but became a Breast Milk Donor for two other babies!!!! 

"My girls turned one year and I still had this crazy stash of milk. I was so afraid it would go unused. I just wanted all my hard work to be for good. My girls were still being breastfed and I knew they would never use what was left. I was producing exactly what they needed and we didn't ever need all the pumped milk. I posted on Human milk for Human babies and found a 4.5mo old in need. I donated the remaining 110 bags. Her mom breastfeeds her but needs to supplement as well. She didn't want to use formula and was desperate to find her baby breastmilk. Another bonus was that the remaining bags were all dairy free because my girls had a dairy sensitivity early on. Her daughter did as well. We were a perfect match! Her mom is so sweet and lets me know that her daughter is thriving on my milk. She says its such a relief to open her freezer and see that her daughter will be fed.
I am so proud of what I have accomplished when the odds were so against me. My twins are 17 months and breastfeeding is still going strong. I get many comments from people wondering when we will wean and to be honest we have no end date! My girls are so healthy and I'm just so thankful of what my body has been able to do. I always felt like my body let me down with all my infertility issues but now I feel like some how I beat it all. I have nourished not only my twins but two other babies. I am so happy that I have been able to do this and only wish I could do more! I always share my story with others because I would love to break the taboo of milksharing. To be honest I would have never thought of donated breastmilk for my girls in the beginning...I probably would have gone to formula. Ick.  I love how women can unite and help one another. It's time to break the silence and bring back what was done since the start of time."

HERE to read the entire article "Nourishing Her Twins and Two Other Babies!"

Having enjoyed reading the first article on The Crunchy Side of Me so much I decided to peruse their page and read this next story.....and I strongly suggest a tissue or two!  Erin's story is one that resonated with me so strongly, because her experience mirrored what I went through with my youngest son: Tongue Tie and the massive drop in milk production that follows when the babies latch just isn't right.  Erin's story of her fight to help her baby boy Gryphon gain weight and get a REAL diagnosis for his latch issue is inspiring!!!

"The next week he had a 2 mos check up and I brought up the tongue tie again, I said "Look, I know you said that he doesn't have it, but I think he does. Our symptoms match up, I mean EVERYTHING matches up, and from what I've been reading you can't base your complete diagnosis on JUST the appearance of the tongue, but you have to look at the mother baby pair, the mother's nipples (mine are flat) and their experiences." She said, "No, he doesn't have one, I think there might be something wrong in his esophagus because he's not really sucking well from the bottle either. I will give him a barium swallow test with speech so they can look at his mouth just to tell you that it's fine."  I was okay with this, because surely they would see that his mouth was NOT fine, and then I got the referral... barium w/out speech. I had had it with her. I was done, unfortunately at this point so was my milk, so I reached out to other Mamas on facebook, and immediately that night I had 40 oz of donated frozen breast milk and the link to HM4HB. I wasted no time in posting, and was instantly rewarded with another 150 oz of donated breast milk. Through the networks I was able to find a short term "Milk Mama" for my little boy.
On human milk by son thrived, and grew and became happy and healthy and gained weight, LOTS of it very fast. In three weeks he'd gone from 8 lbs 6 oz, to 11 lbs!! He has since continued to receive donor milk from Mamas all along the east coast, we've driven to get milk, we've had milk shipped to us and we've even tried wet nursing. Through HM4HB I gained a whole lot more than just breast milk, I got my son back, I gained a whole network of friends; supportive, loving and wonderful amazing women who are selfless in donating to make sure that MY son is healthy and that he is getting what I cannot provide for him. As of today, my son is 4 mos old and weighs about 14 lbs. During all this time I never stopped fighting to get him the help that he needed for his tongue and when he was 14 weeks old we were finally able to find a doctor who would clip it (after two peds, three states, four lactation consultants and a conversation with Dr. Kotlow in Albany NY)." 
Gryphon starting to thrive on breastmilk - Left 7 weeks & Right 10 weeks

 Please click HERE to read all of Erin's wonderful story in "Thriving due to donor milk" on "The Crunchy Side of Me"

I hope you enjoyed these stories!  If you have your own story about a personal adventure into the land of milksharing, feel free to tell me about it! Leave a comment here and I'll get in touch with you asap!! I'd love to post it here as we continue to celebrate World MilkSharing Week!!!!

For more information about World Milksharing Week please go to

And for more information about donor breastmilk- either as a donor or a recipient- please go to:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Milksharing Monday!

Happy Monday of World Milksharing Week!

This week is going to be all about the amazing stories of milksharing that we've witnessed and heard about through the different Human Milk 4 Human Babies communities over the past year.   I've written several blogs about babies in need of breastmilk since starting Informed Parenting.

One of my favorite stories is about little Anaya in BC Canada, because her's is one that shows the power of community- even when it's not local.  In the past year Anaya's mom Camara has received breastmilk donations from all over North America to feed her beautiful yet fragile daughter.

Another one of my favorite stories is about baby Jayden

JAYDEN AT 10 WEEKS.  BLIND AND DEAF.PictureJayden was born cocaine and alcohol addicted, with congenital syphilis, at 31 weeks gestation. She had no skin on the palms of her hands or feet and had to have skin grafts. They could find no formula that Jayden could tolerate well, but settled on the one that she had the "least severe reaction to."
 When she was about eight weeks old, she was assigned a foster parent, who came to do kangaroo care with her for eight days before she took her home.  Jayden was completely blind and profoundly deaf, and would need to be accustomed to "mom's" smell and touch before they sent her home. When she went home, she was the most critical discharge they have ever had from that NICU, which routinely sees the sickest of babies.  Basically, with tears in their eyes, the nurses sent Jayden home to die. Jayden was insulin dependant (with critically unstable blood sugars, typically either below 60 or above 400), on oxygen 24 hours a day, and set off her apnea monitor 6-10 times a day. In order to set off a monitor, she would have to not breathe for many seconds at a time. She had gained and lost the same three ounces since birth, and was no more than four and a half pounds. Her foster mother asked over and over again of anybody who had authority why this baby couldn't be on breastmilk, shouldn't this baby be on breast milk, what did she have to do to get this baby on breastmilk? Over and over, she was basically told that this was a medicaid baby and that the state wouldn't PAY for banked milk (which costs a minimum of 4 dollars an ounce, and has been pasteurized) for a MEDICAID baby. Finally, one day, when Jayden was literally activly dying, an infectious disease doctor looked at her foster mom (who is a friend of mine because of foster work and doula work) and said, "I won't tell you NOT to give her breastmilk. We know that it would give her the best chance!" So, we got her some frozen breastmilk.

 With her first bottle of human milk, Jayden's blood sugar regulated.  She is typically somewhere around 120 now. Within the first three weeks, she regained her sight and hearing. Her new pediatrician says that when somebody is actively dying their brain will shut off all non-essential functions--and hearing and sight are non-essential functions. The first week on breastmilk she started to only set off her apnea monitor during the night's deepest sleep...and only then typically once a night. Within three weeks, they took it off of her completely, because she just didn't set it off any more. The first week she gained and KEPT ON four ounces. The next week three. The next week SEVEN.  At this point, the new pediatrician put her arms around the Foster Mom's shoulders and said, "If you hadn't given that baby human milk when you did, she would be dead today.  You are a hero."  Eight weeks later she had gained nearly four pounds. When she was nearly nine and a half months old she was eleven and a half pounds! We now have full cooperation with her new pediatrician and the state to give her donated human milk, no questions asked.

 With her first bottle of human milk, Jayden's blood sugar regulated.  She is typically somewhere around 120 now. Within the first three weeks, she regained her sight and hearing. Her new pediatrician says that when somebody is actively dying their brain will shut off all non-essential functions--and hearing and sight are non-essential functions. The first week on breastmilk she started to only set off her apnea monitor during the night's deepest sleep...and only then typically once a night. Within three weeks, they took it off of her completely, because she just didn't set it off any more. The first week she gained and KEPT ON four ounces. The next week three. The next week SEVEN.  At this point, the new pediatrician put her arms around the Foster Mom's shoulders and said, "If you hadn't given that baby human milk when you did, she would be dead today.  You are a hero."  Eight weeks later she had gained nearly four pounds. When she was nearly nine and a half months old she was eleven and a half pounds! We now have full cooperation with her new pediatrician and the state to give her donated human milk, no questions asked.

I also love the story of a good friend of mine Lynn, and her son Liam, Who struggled with supply issues.  Lynn documented the changes in her little man,  growing from a thin little waif to a chubby rollypolly happy baby after being fed breastmilk that had been donated by some wonderful women.

Liam- two hours before being admitted to CHOP....
"Our pediatrician was uncomfortable with the EBM at first. She warned me about viruses and diseases and I told her I was more comfortable with the EBM then the Formula. I also told her we screened our donors. She asked me a few questions and smiled. She wanted to make sure we were being smart. And I would like to hope that todays mothers ARE being smart.
In June my son weighed 8 lbs.In September 14 lbsIn October 17 lbsAnd now (Dec 2010) weighs almost 20 lbs"
Liam's pic taken two weeks ago!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Breastmilk: It's in you to give!!!

Happy World Milksharing Week everyone!!!  In honor of this event, and to help spread the joy of donating and receiving breastmilk, I will be posting lots of Milksharing stories and articles from other blogs and news events..... everyday this whole week.  This week, it's all about the breastmilk, baby!!!!!

Last Thursday I wrote about the father, Curtis, who was drinking his wife's frozen breastmilk in the Blog article "Breastmilk: It does a body good. Anybody!"  Earlier in the day I had been contacted by journalist Andrea Gordon from the Toronto Star to talk about Curtis' breastmilk diet (You can read the STAR article HERE) and I told her pretty much exactly what I told you in the article, that I thought that their "experiment" was bringing to light the health benefits of breastmilk and shines a bright light on the fact that formula just doesn't measure up.

While Health Canada and all the pediatric societies chant the same Om of "Breast is best", we are still a culture that sees formula feeding as normal.  We hear about the health benefits of breastmilk, yet rarely does the media really report on the reality of the risks of formula. We know that breastmilk is better for babies tummies, yet hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care providers still turn to formula as the answer to most breastfeeding problems, without really giving a serious thought to the effects of formula on immature stomachs.
Now suddenly, we have a grown man, with a history of all sorts of stomach ailments, drinking human breastmilk- ONLY human breastmilk.  Three days in and his belly problems are gone. No more reflux, no more vomiting, no more bowel movement problems- not even diarrhea that several people said he'd have.  Here's a grown human, with the ability to speak and reason, telling us how much better his digestive system is feeling.....
....Imagine the difference on a small infant? Incapable of speaking and explaining how their tummy hurts.

After I published the article I went back to check on the links (I'm a bit OCD about that, lol) and the link to Curtis and Katie's blog was dead: they had removed their blog completely. I spoke with Emma Kwasnica about their blog and the situation and was thrilled to know that Katie had contacted Emma to talk about donating some of the massive volume of breastmilk that they had stored in their freezer......

.....And in Honor of the first day of World Milksharing Week I thought you'd like an update on the story:  Emma helped Katie find the perfect family in need:  Quadruplet baby girls born last June!!!!  Andrea Gordon has also spoken to Emma and Katie and the mother of the Quads and is writing another exclusive article about this match made in heaven tomorrow!!!  I will edit to add a link to the article tomorrow morning.

Here is the link to the Toronto Star Article about this wonderful milky match story:

It's all about Breastmilk.  It's all about sharing.  It's all about community, and families coming together to support each other.

It's all GOOD!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Breastmilk: It does a body good. Any body!

This week a blog, called "Don't have a cow, man." took the "lactivist" world by storm when a family announced that the husband was drinking his wifes breastmilk....ONLY breastmilk, no solid food, no other drinks.

Katie, who is a doula, childbirth educator, and lactation educator is one of those amazing women with the ability to pump large quantities of breastmilk.  Because of pumping for her preterm baby, born 9 months ago, she has amassed thousands of ounces of liquid gold in her freezer. When commentors asked why she had kept the milk and hadn't donated it Katie replied:

"About milk banks, they do not want the milk because it is too old, I took Motrin after giving birth, I took Tylenol a few times for headaches, and because I took nutritional supplements. Sick babies on other medications use the donor milk and they are concerned about drug interactions or side effects.
Why don't we pay to ship the milk to another mom? We can not afford to spend the hundreds of dollars that it would cost to ship just a portion of the breast milk. Shipping will be very expensive because it needs to be kept frozen. We are like many other families and are just trying to get by."

So when the family planned a long move and realized the magnitude of trying to move all this milk to another State, her husband Curtis decided to drink the milk himself.

"My wife has hundreds of bottles of frozen breast milk in the freezer that our baby will never have a chance to drink before they get too old. Since breast milk is healthy and we have plenty of it, why not just drink it all myself? In fact, why not drink only breast milk and see how long I can happily make it with no other food?
And yes, I know how weird this may sound, it is kind of weird to me as well but why not? I mean cow milk was made for baby cows, why not drink human breast milk that was made for baby humans?  
The rules:Nothing to eat or drink except breast milk.Blog daily about how I am feeling and how it is going.See how many days I can make it without other food."

I have read their blog, and several other blogs that have commented on it this week, and of course the commentary moves from  "yuck dude!" to  "that milk should be going to babies in need" , but in my mind few have really talked about the issue that stood out for me: The obvious health benefits that Curtis has gained from this "experiment".  Curtis has a history of stomach and digestive problems- from reflux, to vomiting and problems with bowel movements (due to hernia surgery scaring)

Here's the thing:  While Health Canada and all the pediatric societies chant the same Om of "Breast is best", we are still a culture that sees formula feeding as normal.  We hear about the health benefits of breastmilk, yet rarely does the media really report on the reality of the risks of formula. We know that breastmilk is better for babies tummies, yet hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care providers still turn to formula as the answer to most breastfeeding problems, without really giving a serious thought to the effects of formula on immature stomachs.

Now suddenly, we have a grown man, with a history of all sorts of stomach ailments, drinking human breastmilk- ONLY human breastmilk.  Three days in and his belly problems are gone. No more reflux, no more vomiting, no more bowel movement problems- not even diarrhea that several people said he'd have.  Here's a grown human, with the ability to speak and reason, telling us how much better his digestive system is feeling.....

....Imagine the difference on a small infant? Incapable of speaking and explaining how their tummy hurts.

I, like many others have said, would love to see this breastmilk going to a baby in need.  I've even messaged Curtis and his wife to ask where they are located to see if I can't guide them find a recipient through Human Milk 4 Human Babies in their area. But even if a family in need isn't found that can afford the shipping and packaging of the milk, I still think that this experiment that they have done has opened doors to other people- to seriously think about the validity of the tremendous health benefits of species specific breastmilk in the area of healing.  Not just in the case of cancer, like the amazing story of Howard Cohen , who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999 and has used only breastmilk as his cancer treatment and kept his cancer in remission for 10 years!! , but the healing it can do to the digestive system- especially the digestive systems of fragile infants.  More so, it might make more people aware of the importance that human breastmilk plays on the health of humans of all ages, and give further insight into the dangers of commercial infant formulas.  Parents are constantly inundated with formula ads that grandly announce "Closest formula to breastmilk!".... but when it comes to the health of our babies, is "closest" really good enough?  

Monday, September 19, 2011

The little voices called Guilt & Shame

If you've been following along here for the past week or so, or have been actively reading the latest news in the world of breastfeeding advocacy, then you're probably well aware of the battle of words that raged last week during the Babble Debacle. If you missed it, you can catch up by reading the 3 articles that I posted HERE, HERE and HERE. I"m not going to get into all the details of it all, but I do want to address the ever present topic of "Guilt" and "Shame" that seems to haunt just about every parenting debate.

Babies don't come with an owners manual.  They don't come with instructions.  They don't come with even a rudimentary FAQ to refer to when you suddenly have a desperate question to ask.  It's up to each and every parent to figure it out all on their own.  Now, having said that, we do have the option of doing research to help us along the way to making the best choices we can. Some times we learn things in advance of necessity, sometimes we learn things in hindsight. And sometimes, in hindsight, we learn that we screwed up.  And we feel guilty.  Sometimes even shame.  That's life, and it sucks, but the reality is that we have to learn to live with our mistakes and get on with it.

But here's the kicker:  In order to "get on with it" and learn to live with our mistakes, you need to own it. The mistake, that is. Because if you can't OWN your mistake, if you can't admit that you made a mistake, then you will never learn from your mistake.

Here's the thing about Guilt.  Guilt is not something that happens to you from outside sources.  Guilt is internal.  Guilt is an emotion that we feel in response to something that we have said or done, or even thought about.  No one can MAKE you feel guilty.  No one can FORCE you to feel guilty. If you are completely confident in your choices and actions, if you feel in your heart that you have done exactly the right thing..... you will not feel guilty..... no matter what any one says to you!!! Only you, or at least, only that little voice in the back of your head, can make YOU feel guilty.  A good friend of mine once said this about guilt:
~On guilt~
No one can make any one else FEEL guilty. Guilt comes from within. You either feel it, or you don't. And actually, guilt is a very good thing! It causes us to re-evaluate things, lets us know when we are no longer in line with our own principles, our core values. It tells us that something is off, motivates us to......change whatever it is we're doing. In other words, guilt makes us uncomfortable for good reason!Rather than blaming OTHERS for making us "feel guilty", we really need to look within ourselves for the answers, and stop deflecting our issues away from ourselves, stop projecting our issues onto others. We need to be 100% accountable for our feelings, we need to OWN them. Because they are no one else's *but* our own." Emma Kwasnica
"We need to be 100% accountable for our feelings (such as guilt and shame), we need to OWN them"

NO ONE IS PERFECT.  Not one of us is the perfect parent.  Not one of us has raised our children perfectly without making a single mistake. Making a mistake is really hard, and sometimes emotionally devastating, but it gives us the opportunity to do better.  It gives us the opportunity to learn and to try to make better decisions the next time. We all make mistakes- what sets us apart as parents is what we do with that knowledge and how we deal with our mistakes. Guilt guides us to DO BETTER.

The same with Shame.  No one can make you feel ashamed.  No one can force you to feel Shame.  Shame is a part of your internal watchdog and shares the same house with Guilt.

I'm not a perfect parent- not even close- and I have made some horrible mistakes in my life.

- when my eldest son was 3 days old, I allowed him to be circumcised.  It was years later before I truly realized the magnitude of the mistake I made that day.  When the realization came, I was emotionally devastated and I still live with the guilt in my heart.
-when my son was 12 weeks old I allowed him to "Cry it out" all night long.... because that's what my mom told me to do.  I sat on the floor in the hallway, outside his room, and cried and cried and cried along with him.
- when my eldest son was 6 weeks old, I started giving him bottles, because that's what I was told to do. Suddenly at 4.5 month old, he refused to nurse.  After struggling for over a day, I finally went to my doctor, who told me that my son had "weaned" himself and that he only wanted bottles now.  I was crushed.  I cried on and off for days.  It was even worse though when I discovered a book in our Library called "The womanly art of breastfeeding" and found out that my baby hadn't weaned, he had classic nipple confusion, and that if I'd gotten help/support, I could of got him back on the breast again.

Just typing this out brings tears to my eyes, even though my eldest son is now 20 years old.


Yes, I feel them both.  BUT.....I have accepted my guilt and my shame. I do not blame others for my shame and guilt.  When a good friend sat down and explained to me exactly what "Male Circumcision" was, and what it does, and how it's done, at first I wouldn't believe her.  I couldn't believe her, so I researched, and realized that she was right.  And I felt intense guilt. I was horrified and I felt completely ashamed. BUT.....

When "Intactivist" post articles about the truth of Circumcision I don't say to them "Stop!!  You're making me feel guilty!!"
When "Lactivists" post articles about the risks of formula feeding and the truth that infant formula is a vastly inferior substitute to breastmilk, I don't yell "NO!  Don't tell me this!  You're making me feel shamed because I formula fed my son!!!!"
When AP parents post studies that show that CIO methods cause permanent emotional damage to babies, I don't throw my hands over my eyes and say "Don't show me that!!!  You're making me feel guilty and ashamed because I let my son CIO as a small infant!!!"

Just because they are telling the facts- cold and hard- doesn't mean that they are "making" me feel guilty.

Yes, I feel guilty, and I feel ashamed of some of my decisions that I've made as a parent, but I accept that guilt and that shame and have turned it around.  I have learned from it. I have dedicated myself to helping others to NOT make the same mistakes that I did. I OWN that guilt.  I will never make those mistakes again, because I have fully accepted my guilt and shame.

Here's another thing about Guilt and Shame. Rarely are we the only ones responsible for our mistakes.  I made mistakes but I also acknowledge that I can't shoulder ALL of the blame.  I was let down by a system that didn't support parents to make informed choices.  That's another emotion that goads me forward:  ANGER.

So if you feel the emotions "Guilt" & "Shame" over parenting decisions you've made in the past, put it to work for you. Move forward and onward.  Make the changes necessary to get rid of the guilt.  Own it.

....Don't blame others for it.  It's not their fault that you have emotional baggage to deal with. Blaming them doesn't make the truth go away.
........and it doesn't make you feel any better.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vaccines: Making you far sicker than you ever thought

I was planning on writing today about "Shame and Guilt", in continuation of the Babble Debacle, but an article crossed my computer screen today that I feel is more important.

You all know that I'm seriously against vaccines, and that I feel that they are far more dangerous than the diseases they are supposedly protecting us from.  I've talked about the dangerous chemicals used regularly in vaccines- chemicals like Mercury, Aluminum, Formaldehyde, MSG, etc... and the fact that there are other substances in vaccines that are highly questionable- live viruses, eggs, peanuts, aborted embryo cells, cells from multiple animals.  For anyone who's spent any time researching and reading about vaccines and their risks and side effect, this is old news.  But what you may not know, is about the diseases that are being discovered IN the vaccines.

Gardasil.  One of the most dirty words in my vocabulary.  I've talked about the huge risks associated with this vaccine, the deaths of young girls and women directly caused by this vaccine, but did you know that there is something even more scary that you should know about Gardasil?

In seeking answers to why adolescent girls are suffering devastating health damage after being injected with HPV vaccines, SANE Vax, Inc decided to have vials of Gardasil tested in a laboratory. There, they found over a dozen Gardasil vaccine vials to becontaminated with rDNA of the Human Papillomavirus(HPV). The vials were purchased in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Poland and France, indicating Gardasil contamination is a global phenomenon....

The rDNA that was found to be contaminating Gardasil is not "natural" rDNA from the HPV virus itself. Rather, it is agenetically engineeredform of HPV genetic code that is added to the vaccines during their manufacture.

As Dr. Lee, the pathologist who ran the laboratory tests identifying the biohazard contamination of Gardasil said:

"Natural HPV DNA does not remain in the bloodstream for very long. However, the HPV DNA in Gardasil is not 'natural' DNA. It is a recombinant HPV DNA (rDNA) -- genetically engineered -- to be inserted into yeast cells for VLP (virus-like-particle) protein production. rDNA is known to behave differently from natural DNA. It may enter a human cell, especially in an inflammatory lesion caused by the effects of the aluminum adjuvant, via poorly understood mechanisms. Once a segment of recombinant DNA is inserted into a human cell, the consequences are hard to predict. It may be in the cell temporarily or stay there forever, with or without causing a mutation. Now the host cell contains human DNA as well as genetically engineered viral DNA."

Reading this article led me to another article by Natural News about the Polio vaccine.  Now let me tell you, the polio vaccine is one of the biggies that everyone brings up when you say that you don't vaccinate:  "But look at the polio vaccine!  It wiped out polio!!"..... except that it didn't.  I won't get into that right now, but if you really want to know about the polio epidemic and the vaccine, read THIS page..... make sure you have lots of time on your hands because once you start reading , it's kind of like a train wreck and you can't look away or stop reading!

No, What I want to focus on is the fact that AIDs was introduced into western society through the Polio vaccine.

Dr. Maurice Hilleman of Merck (aka Big Pharma), openly talks about how they introduced the AIDs virus and cancers into the bodies of men women and children while inoculating them to prevent polio. From Natural News:

One of the most prominent vaccine scientists in the history of the vaccine industry -- a Merck scientist -- made a recording where he openly admits that vaccines given to Americans were contaminated with leukemia and cancer viruses. In response, his colleagues (who are also recorded here) break out into laughter and seem to think it's hilarious. They then suggest that because these vaccines are first tested in Russia, they will help the U.S. win the Olympics because the Russian athletes will all be "loaded down with tumors." (Thus, they knew these vaccines caused cancer in humans.)
This isn't some conspiracy theory -- these are the words of a top Merck scientist who probably had no idea that his recording would be widely reviewed across the internet (which didn't even exist when he made this recording). He probably thought this would remain a secret forever. When asked why this didn't get out to the press, he replied "Obviously you don't go out, this is a scientific affair within the scientific community."
In other words, vaccine scientists cover for vaccine scientists. They keep all their dirty secrets within their own circle of silence and don't reveal the truth about the contamination of their vaccines.

Taken from the transcript (available to read HERE)

Dr Edward Shorter: Tell me how you found SV40 and the polio vaccine.
Dr Maurice Hilleman: Well, that was at Merck. Yeah, I came to Merck. And uh, I was going to develop vaccines. And we had wild viruses in those days. You remember the wild monkey kidney viruses and so forth? And I finally after 6 months gave up and said that you cannot develop vaccines with these damn monkeys, we're finished and if I can't do something I'm going to quit, I'm not going to try it. So I went down to see Bill Mann at the zoo in Washington DC and I told Bill Mann, I said "look, I got a problem and I don't know what the hell to do." Bill Mann is a real bright guy. I said that these lousy monkeys are picking it up while being stored in the airports in transit, loading, off loading. He said, very simply, you go ahead and get your monkeys out of West Africa and get the African Green, bring them into Madrid unload them there, there is no other traffic there for animals, fly them into Philadelphia and pick them up. Or fly them into New York and pick them up, right off the airplane. So we brought African Greens in and I didn't know we were importing the AIDS virus at the time.
Miscellaneous background voices:…(laughter)… it was you who introduced the AIDS virus into the country. Now we know! (laughter) This is the real story! (laughter) What Merck won't do to develop a vaccine! (laughter).....
Dr Maurice Hilleman: …but, anyway we knew it was in our seed stock from making vaccines. That virus you see, is one in 10,000 particles is not an activated… (unintelligible) …it was good science at the time because that was what you did. You didn't worry about these wild viruses.
Dr Edward Shorter: So you discovered, it wasn't being inactivated in the Salk vaccine?
Dr Maurice Hilleman: …Right. So then the next thing you know is, 3, 4 weeks after that we found that there were tumors popping up on these hamsters.
Dr. Len Horowitz: Despite AIDS and Leukemia suddenly becoming pandemic from "wild viruses" Hilleman said, this was "good science" at that time.

Dr. Len Horowitz uncovered this interview from the national archives, and got it released so the public can learn the truth behind the deadly vaccine industry.  You can watch the video of this HERE

AIDs and a whole bunch of cancers.....all from the polio vaccine.

..... How do you feel about the oh so wonderful polio vaccine now?